Sunday, December 17, 2006

Can't Fight City Hall...

But you can fight the Post Office!

Last Saturday was a bad, bad mail day. Went to collect it, and there was the regular invoice from Toyota for the ol' Highlander. And there was also my November payment. Stamped: Addressee Unknown--Unable to Forward.

Addressee Unknown? Unable to Forward????

Surely Toyota Financial Services had not moved and had not bothered to correct their billing stubs. And why had it taken the Postal Service almost six weeks to return this to me? And...and...and... why were there black pencil marks through the coding on the bottom of the envelope... Closer inspection showed that my envelope clearly addressed to City of Industry, California had been traveling around Carol Springs, Illinois! Hope it had a nice tour!

Upon opening the current billing, there was no big surprise there: two months were now due...pay up or else!

So, Monday morning had me phoning Toyota, and speaking with a very nice customer service rep. She waived the late charges, but told me that unless they had the two payments in five days, there would be a bad mark on my credit report...and that while obviously it could be removed, it was a time-consuming procedure. So she recommended I overnight the payment to them.

Hmmm...a $14.40 Postal charge...to cover their error... Brooke was not a happy camper...

So...I trek off to the post office...never a fun thing to do on one's lunch hour...never a smart thing to do during the Christmas rush!

And stand in line forever...and finally get up to the front. I show the very nice clerk my envelope and he looks at it and says that's pretty weird. I tell him that since this was not my fault and that it took six weeks to return what was obviously a payment to me, and that since I now needed to send it overnight to City of Industry, that USPS should pick up the charge. Mr. Nice Postal-Guy grins and says he agrees, but he doubts they will. He offers to go and talk with a supervisor. You do that, I think...but wisely say: Thank you very much.

A couple minutes later (at least it seemed that long!), he returns and says that said super is gonna be out in a minute. So I wait...and wait...and wait... and then Mr. Supervisor arrives.

Things start out pleasantly enough. I state my case again. Show him the envelope. He peers at it. And announces that the envelope is not the proper configuration for postal standards to allow them to code it properly. That's why it was returned. And no. They will not pick up the $14.40 Express Mail charge.

What?? Excuse me?? What??? Not the proper configuration? Okay...give me a break here...

I have been using the exact same envelope now for almost four years...hundreds of thousands of people send payments to Toyota Financial Services using the same envelope. So I ask: You are telling me that everyone who made a payment to Toyota for November is getting their checks back six weeks later...and that from now...every payment sent to Toyota is gonna come back...as I wave my December payment in front of him...

Yes, he says...

I am astonished at his reply. So I ask him: why did it go to Carol Springs, Illinois? Why didn't it just come back to me? And so 100,000 plus envelopes are going back to customers? I truly doubt this, I say.

He then asks me where I mailed the payment.

At his post office.

Oh. Not daunted...he says but your return address is in another city.

Like duh... I sorta patiently say: Yes...I live in that city...work in this city (24/7 or so it seems...but I didn't go there...pat me on the back for my restraint!). And so yes...I send mail here...

Oh. He sighs. Just a second he says, and picks up the envelope and goes to the back.

A minute later he returns...and announces the obvious... Somebody miscoded the envelope not just once...not even twice...but three times. A truly mishandled piece of mail. He actually apologizes. And says that yes...they will be happy to waive the $14.40 Express Mail charge for me.

Woo Hoo! I fought the Post Office and won! And guess what! My Express Envelope actually arrived at its proper destination the next day...and Toyota posted the payment immediately... and Mr. Highlander is safe from nasty tow truck drives who moonlight as repo-dudes.

Yep...you can't fight City Hall, but sometimes you can fight the Post Office...Mr. Nice-Postal Guy was pretty impressed with my success! And so was I!

8 comments:

Pardon me while I bow before the master. I am simply in AWE. Now, would you mind seeing what you could do with the phone dudes who cut off service to my company (IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY WITH OUT WARNING) because they applied payment to the wrong account???

P.S....I did NOT put a space between WITH and OUT. {Sniff}

Hee, hee...well...sadly... The Phone Company...AKA: Major Pita Butts... is beyond me... I can't believe I actually got the PO to waive their fees and admit they flubbed out!

Brooke,

It was a once in a lifetime experience, once in all of our lifetimes. If you tell the phone company you'll go somewhere else, they get a lot nicer. Doesn't work as well for the post office.

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